Barry Successfully Receives Kidney

Mayor-for-life is a 'true soldier'

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WASHINGTON -- D.C. Councilman Marion Barry is "very strong" and has made it through a kidney transplant at Howard University Hospital.

Barry spokeswoman Natalie Williams, who called Barry a 'true soldier,' said this morning that he slowly raised his hand, touched thumb to forefinger and said, "I am A-OK."

Barry had planned to attend a press conference Saturday morning to update his condition, but as DCist's Aaron Morrissey pointed out, that might have been asking a bit much less than 24 hours after major surgery -- especially as doctors kept him on a breathing tube all night.

But, per the usual procedure, Barry will get out of bed briefly today for routine exercises, chief surgeon Clive O. Callender said. 

It was just before 11:00 Friday night that hospital officials announced that a healthy kidney had been successfully transplanted to Barry, with no complications. 

Doctors began the transplant Friday afternoon. They operated on Barry and the organ donor, Kim Dickens, at the same time.

The surgery took six hours.

Dickens, a 47-year-old resident of the District, is described as a "dear friend" of Barry's for "more than 10 years."  Hospital officials said she is well and resting comfortably.  

Barry spokeswoman Natalie Williams said Dickens was one of a group of six Barry friends who were asked to get tested for compatibility. 

The former mayor's kidney problems are the result of diabetes and hypertension that Barry has suffered for more than 20 years, Williams said.   

After prosecutors asked a judge to put Barry in jail for failing to file his 2007 taxes on time -- the eighth time he'd failed to do that in nine years -- Barry blamed his medical condition for distracting him from his responsibility as a taxpayer. He filed earlier this week and planned to file his 2008 taxes next week.

Sources say Barry could be released from the hospital as soon as Tuesday.

Williams said a press conference with Barry and Dickens will be held late next week.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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